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compacted soil, we're on a creek bed, stressed trees

14 years ago

Hi! We just bought this house (south of Buffalo NY) at the end of last year. For the first time since my teen years, I'm mowing grass! It's a huge yard and one side is steep, weedy and ridiculously bumpy (but relatively happy, full and green all the same), but the other side is my big concern (the yard is sort of a sideways rectangle, the front and back yard are quite shallow but the side yards are huge).

The house is over 100 years, there are three huge, glorious sugar maples that I'm guessing are over 100 years as well. They're stressed to the max and one of them will have to come down within a year or two. The yard ends at a cliff and about 25 feet or so down is a creek. Erosion is clearly a big problem, judging from all of the dead trees lining the side of the cliff. There's one big spot at the edge of our yard where the ground is in the process of giving way. The dirt in this part of the yard is HARD and rocky. There's a little grass growing, although it's not thick at all - it's mostly weeds, and even they're pretty sad. There are a lot of exposed roots everywhere.

So where do I even start? My guess is that I need to do something with the soil before I can even think about the grass, right? I have no attachment to a lawn at all, but this yard has a lovely park quality to it that I'm desperate to preserve (also, those maples drop a stunning amount of leaves in the fall). But now that I'm walking the full yard behind a mower every week, I'm seeing just how neglected this yard has been.

So, say I have an unlimited amount of money - what would you do? Now let's say I'm barely squeaking by and I'm already facing $1200 to take down one tree , $450 to take an evergreen down on the steep side, and another $1200 to cable and prune another. What should that girl do?

My lawnmower is a battery powered Neuton, not self-propelled. The previous owner used a BIG riding lawn mower. I'm getting A LOT of exercise! (this one was taken last August)

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